Henry Blaisdell Memorial Day parade marshal

Image from Hennepin History Museum’s collection.

Leading the Memorial Day parade

In 1888, the city of Minneapolis hosted their largest Memorial Day parade to date. More than 1,400 people marched the 2-mile route traversing Third Avenue, Ninth Street and Nicollet Avenue, while thousands of Minnesotans turned out to honor those who died while serving in the military. “Occasionally sobs were heard as the process passed,” reported the Minneapolis Tribune. “These came from those whose loved ones are now resting in the cemeteries. One woman was heard to exclaim mid-sob, ‘Oh, that John was here in that line. He gave his life in a noble cause still I am not sorry.’” Henry Blaisdell, shown here in his Memorial Day parade uniform, served as the parade’s chief marshal. Blaisdell was the commander of the Dudley P. Chase Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) post; like so many of both the parade’s participants and observers, Blaisdell marched in memory of family and friends killed during the Civil War.

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